Opposition Senator Jearlen John has issued a call for a “coming together of voices” on the Tobago self-government issue.
John who made the statements during an interview on a Tobago based television station said that the United National Congress has taken the position that there must be consensus on the proposed amendments to be made to the Tobago Self Government bills debated before the Parliament.
And while she said the UNC is willing to meet with all parties, Tobago’s political leaders seem less enthused by the open invitation.
During the interview, John was asked to detail why the UNC did not support the bills. John said there were various reasons however, the request for more time was enough to cast doubt because there must be agreement.
“A lot of people have to climb down from their high horses and really let us all sit around the table as equal contributors and see what we can make of this opportunity for Tobago and Trinidad.” Former Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary and leader of the One Tobago Voice party, Hochoy Charles said his position on the changes to be made to the latest draft of the document is clear.
“Farley and I signed a communique and sent it to each and every single parliamentarian and any one of them requiring clarification on anything, I am willing to meet with anyone at any time.”
He said he did not receive any request from the UNC for a meeting, however, he said he agrees with the position that the Tobago political parties need to sit down and determine the way forward.
Meanwhile, Political Leader of the People’s National Movement Tobago Council Tracy Davidson Celestine said she doesn’t understand why the UNC has to meet with political parties in Tobago.
“This process, managed by the Joint Select Committee started since 2018 with over 22 meetings, they had three members on the committee. There was no interest from them then, they were very silent and had no recommendations, not even any suggestions to the clauses that are contained in the Bills.”
She said she hoped the strategy was not being employed by the UNC as a “stalling tactic” however she said she has no hesitation in meeting. But Davidson-Celestine warned if the call for further discussion is meant to create further division, the PNM Tobago Council will not be a party to that.
Guardian Media reached out to Deputy Political Leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots Farley Augustine for a response to the open invitation issued by the Opposition Senator, but there was no response.
Meanwhile, Leader of Government Business Camille Robinson-Regis, who also heads the Joint Select Committee (JSC) that developed the report on the bills, announced that comments on the Constitution Amendment Tobago Self-Government Bill and Tobago Island Council Bill will be accepted until July 15.
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